CST: How the Incidents response team helps victims of anti-Semitism

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CST: How the Incidents response team helps victims of anti-Semitism

Jewish graves daubed with swastikas
Jewish graves daubed with swastikas

This article was written by CST’s antisemitic incidents response team.

Working in the CST Incident Department is challenging but highly rewarding. We are often the first point of contact for victims of antisemitism. When we answer the phone we do not know what we are going to be dealing with.

We can take calls from people who have received antisemitic abuse from a total stranger, or from victims of ongoing and sustained cases of antisemitic hatred and violence.

We have received extensive training from the Home Office’s “Victim Support” organisation, in how to treat each victim sympathetically and supportively. We have access to numerous resources including the Metropolitan Police and regional Police forces.

We liaise with and refer victims to local authorities and to organisations, such as Jewish Care and Streetwise, who will be able to provide specialist advice.

Each day brings new challenges and uncertainty. We never know if we could be called out to deal with a suspicious package that has been left outside a synagogue or other Jewish location, or if we will be the first point of contact for a victim who has experienced antisemitic hatred. We have seen many antisemitic incidents over the years.

These range from hate mail sent through the post or via email, egg throwing at Orthodox Jews on the Sabbath, swastikas carved into people’s vehicles and property or violent attacks in the street, to sickening desecrations and arson attacks at cemeteries and synagogues.

We also have to deal with suspicious people and instances of potential hostile reconnaissance against our community: in plain English, cases of possible terrorist planning.

Thanks to CST’s Security Enhancement Project and the extensive CCTV network that it assists with, we are able to monitor situations as they happen and evolve. Working with the Police is imperative in our roles as Incident Support Officers.

Over many years we have built a strong relationship with numerous officers and specialist teams.

Together we share valuable information to help combat antisemitism and terrorism. The feedback we receive from the victims of antisemitism is often overwhelming and humbling.

It keeps the work intensely motivating for all of us.

Many times the victims simply had no idea who to turn to and they express great relief and thanks that there is, indeed, someone who can provide the reassurance and support that they needed.

The Incident Department at CST never shuts and is contactable for emergencies 24 hours a day.  

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